14 September 2007

Season 7: Chimera (7X16)

Written by: David Amann
Directed by: Cliff Bole

Mulder and Scully are on a stake out in Washington, following the disappearance of six prostitutes from the Dirty Dames Strip Club, on the trail of a mysterious blond woman, a possible female serial killer, who has successfully evaded two police raids by appearing to vanishing. However Mulder is called to Assistant Director Skinner's office and briefed on a missing persons case in Bethany, Vermont.

Martha Crittendon, the daughter of a US Federal Judge disappeared from her home shortly after her seven year old daughter saw a black raven. Skinner wants Mulder to investigate the raven aspect of the case from his unique prospective of the paranormal. Mulder joins local sheriff Phil Adderly at the Crittendon residence. Martha's husband suspects that his wife is not missing, but has run off with the man she was having an affair with, after he finds birth control pills and a key with the number six on it.

However talon marks on the mantel piece and a shatter mirror have Mulder believing there is more to the case, a belief which is vindicated when Martha's raven pecked body is discovered buried in the garden. Shortly afterwards the Sheriff's wife, Ellen is chased through her house by a dark figure, shattering mirrors along the way.

When a second woman is found murdered in a similar fashion to Martha in a hotel room, the key Martha's husband found fits the lock, linking the two victims together. Mulder theorises that someone is either knowingly or unwittingly directing an evil spirit to attack.

Writer David Amann's wife Michelle Deschamps is mentioned in this episode. The little girl in the teaser is named Michelle, and the psychiatric hospital featured is the Deschamps County Hospital.

The title is a reference to the fabled monster from Greek mythology, said to be made up of different parts - usually a lion's head (or three heads, one of which is a lion) a goat's body and a dragon's tail - and breathing fire. Descriptions have changed from story to story, and it's even a description of a particular medical condition when two twins fuse in the womb to become one and have traces of DNA from each. Though the monster in this episode is not really a chimera in the distinct sense of the word, it works on the idea of one person with two separate personalities, one of whom carries out the atrocities the other couldn't countenance.

Scully appears only in brief cameos in this episode. She is in the usual Mulder/Scully 1st scene of act 1, and then all her conversations with Mulder are short, by phone, and spread throughout the episode.

There is much made of ravens in the episode, but from the look of it, the birds used weren't actually ravens. The common raven is a very large bird - up to almost 30 inches in length at maturity. They also have little 'beards' of feathers. These look more like crows, which belong to the same family.

Mulder: You wanted to see me, sir?
Skinner: Yeah, sit down. Two weeks ago a woman named Martha Crittendon disappeared from her home in Bethany, Vermont. Local police haven't turned up any sign of her. I'm hoping you may be able to.
Mulder: I'm already on a case.
Skinner: You're on a stakeout. I'm confident Agent Scully can continue in your absence.
Mulder: Why? What did I do?
Skinner: There may be aspects to this that... speak to your strengths as an investigator.
Mulder: Specifically?
Skinner: Ravens. What do you know about them — their mythological or... paranormal significance?
Mulder: Well, the, uh... the raven is considered a very powerful symbol in certain Norse, Celtic and Native American cultures uh, mostly, a negative one. Indians view it as a deceiving spirit, Christianity mostly associates it with evil and, then, of course, there's Poe's raven and, 'nevermore', and all that stuff.
Skinner: Martha Crittendon's seven-year-old daughter claimed that she was attacked by a raven earlier the day her mother disappeared. Later, she heard one inside the house before she discovered her mother was missing.
Mulder: No, really, what did I do?
Skinner: It's the only lead that hasn't been explored. I want to know if it has any bearing on the case.

Scully: Mulder, please tell me I can go home.
Mulder: Oh, hey, Scully. How's the stakeout?
Scully: Well, the furnace broke and I can just about see my breath in here.
Mulder: Ouch. I'm sorry to hear that.
Scully: That... and I've witnessed a couple hundred things I'd like to erase from my brain. Eww. But as of yet, no mystery woman.
Mulder: Well, she'll come, you know? It's just a matter of time. She'll show up — I'm sure of that.
Scully: Yeah, well not before I die of malnutrition.
Mulder: Hey, Scully, tough it out. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Right? (to Ellen Adderly) No, no, no, no. No capers, thank you.
Scully: I'm sorry. What?
Mulder: I said, 'What a... what a crazy caper.' I'll talk to you later... and, uh, keep warm. Bye.

Ellen Adderly: I saw its reflection. It had a face out of a nightmare. These long claws — the kind that could... the window shattered — I don't know how — and when I turned around, it was gone. I don't know what I thought it was. I didn't think it was real. I mean, how could it be? But then, when I saw Martha's face...
Sheriff Adderly: Honey, you've been through a lot.
Ellen Adderly: You don't believe me.
Mulder: I do. You said the car window shattered after you saw the reflection and there's a broken mirror in Martha's house. I don't think that's a coincidence.
Ellen Adderly: But what could it mean?
Mulder: Mirrors are considered doorways. In the Victorian Era, they built mirrored rooms called psychomantiums where they thought they could summon forth spirits from the spirit world. Denizens from the spirit world were brought into this world.

Mulder: I think it's about as close as science can come. I think the basic idea is right. There are some multiple personality disorders where an alternate personality displays traits that the host doesn't have — like nearsightedness or high blood pressure or even diabetes. I think in Ellen's case the changes were just a lot more extreme.
Sheriff Adderly: Like Jekyll and Hyde?
Mulder: She wanted so much from her life with you — a perfect life — and I think that at some point she found out you were cheating with Jenny and Martha, I don't know when, but at some point she did, and... and, like you said, I think she had to rationalise that. She just bottled up her anger, swallowed it, and it had to come out some way. I think she did what she did to protect her family.

Highlights from ''Chimera''

Episode Number: 155
Season Number: 7
First Aired: Sunday, April 2, 2000
Production Code: 7X16

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